Click to edit Master text styles
Poultry litter is a valuable resource
that can be recycled back to the land as fertilizer and soil amendment. This
short presentation will help you understand the actual value of litter.
contains all essential plant nutrients.
If soils are deficient in any of the components shown here, it may be economical to use litter in place of inorganic alternatives.
litter contains a lot of organic matter, which can improve the quality of soils, such as water and nutrient
holding capacities. Litter also contains lime-like materials,
which can help maintain soil pH
in a productive level.
The value of litter depends largely on
its nutrient content, so a nutrient analysis is essential information.
These are average values for litter from
broilers, hens or egg production, and pullet producers. The preferred litter is from broilers. Values may vary widely from farm to
farm. On average broiler litter is
something like a 3-3-2.5 fertilizer (i.e. 3 percent each N and P2O5, and 2.5%
You can get a calculator from this
website to compare litter nutrients to those of commercial fertilizer.
In this example, we compare our litter
to Urea fertilizer at $320 per ton (35 cents/lb), Diammonium Phosphate at
$282/ton, and K2O at $240/ton.
The result is that the N is worth $21/ton;
the P2O is worth $10.40/ton; and the K2O is worth $10.00/t from poultry
litter. If all these nutrients are
needed, the value would be $42.31 per ton.
Of course actual value to you depends on
what crop you are growing and what your soil nutrient level is.
A good soil test, consisting of 15 to 20
cores from the field, mixed thoroughly in a clean bucket is needed to evaluate
If you put your soil test results into
the calculator, you can determine how much litter you need and what
supplementation might also be needed.
In this example, we have in field ABC, N at 2 lb/ac, Soil Test P Index
of 10/acre, Potassium at 120 lb/ac, pH 5.5.
We plan to grow Bermudagrass with a yield goal of 3 tons/ac.
The program indicates if you
could fertilize your crop in one of three ways
1)Use litter to meet the
N requirement. This requires litter at
4.7 tons/ac, but gives you about 200 lb extra P2O5 and 158 lb extra K2O
2) Use 1.1 ton of litter to meet the P2O5 and
K2O requirements. A supplement of 114
lb of N is needed to reach your yield goal of 3 tons/ac.
3) This calculation is based on K2O and is
approximately the same as #2
When you use poultry litter as N
fertilizer, only part of the N is available the first season. In this example, $15/ton is available the
first season and $4/ton of N is available in later years. Of cause, unused P
and K can be available in future years too.
If the value is based on the P2O5 needed
in this example, there is $29/ton, with over $6 in future value.
If you are thinking of buying poultry
litter, we suggest you check the Oklahoma Litter Market on the web at this
You can click on sellers to see who has
litter for sale, or haulers to see who you might get to haul the litter. You can list your request for litter by
clicking on Current Buyers.
The website has a great deal of other
information including fact sheets and calculators.
Remember, recycling manures back to the
land is the best way to dispose of manure.
If used properly it is safe and environmentally friendly. The nutrients are good for the soil and help
maintain its productivity and quality.